Romney: One Year Of 'Green' Tax Breaks Could Hire Two Million Teachers, Fund 50 Years Of Oil And Gas Breaks

Craig Bannister
By Craig Bannister | October 4, 2012 | 11:57 AM EDT

The $90 billion of annual tax breaks to “green” companies could’ve been used to fund 50 years of breaks for oil and gas companies – or hire two million teachers, Mitt Romney said during last night’s debate with Pres. Obama.

First, Romney put the tax breaks given to oil and gas companies, which Obama wants to end, into perspective:

Romney: First of all, the Department of Energy has said the tax break for oil companies is $2.8 billion a year. And it's actually an accounting treatment, as you know, that's been in place for a hundred years. Now...

Obama: It's time to end it.

Romney: “And in one year, you provided $90 billion in breaks to the green energy world.

“Now, I like green energy as well, but that's about 50 years' worth of what oil and gas receives. And you say Exxon and Mobil. Actually, this $2.8 billion goes largely to small companies, to drilling operators and so forth.

“But, you know, if we get that tax rate from 35 percent down to 25 percent, why that $2.8 billion is on the table. Of course it's on the table. That's probably not going to survive you get that rate down to 25 percent.”

“But don't forget, you put $90 billion, like 50 years' worth of breaks, into -- into solar and wind, to Solyndra and Fisker and Tester and Ener1. I mean, I had a friend who said you don't just pick the winners and losers, you pick the losers, all right? So this -- this is not -- this is not the kind of policy you want to have if you want to get America energy secure.”

Later in the debate, Romney touted his support for education funding by saying that the $90 billion in tax breaks for green companies could’ve been used instead to hire two million teachers – especially since “about half” of the green companies that got tax breaks have gone out of business:

Romney: “Mr. President, Mr. President, you're entitled as the president to your own airplane and to your own house, but not to your own facts. All right, I'm not going to cut education funding. I don't have any plan to cut education funding and -- and grants that go to people going to college. I'm planning on (inaudible) to grow. So I'm not planning on making changes there.

“But you make a very good point, which is that the place you put your money just makes a pretty clear indication of where your heart is. You put $90 billion into -- into green jobs. And I -- look, I'm all in favor of green energy. $90 billion, that would have -- that would have hired two million teachers. $90 billion.

“And these businesses, many of them have gone out of business, I think about half of them, of the ones have been invested in have gone out of business.”

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